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Poster: Moongleam Date: Jun 1, 2010 2:34pm
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: Silent movies.

Music isn't needed. Do you think that the people who watched "Reservoir Dogs" said to themselves, "This would be an exciting film if it just had some lush music"?

Forget about music. Concentrate on the story.

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Poster: quigs Date: Jun 1, 2010 3:21pm
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: Silent movies.

I disagree, music if used in the right way is esential for fil. Case in point, North by Northwes- chase across the presidents. It adds to the suspense.

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Poster: Moongleam Date: Jun 1, 2010 4:03pm
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: Silent movies.

Did you understand my post?

To reiterate: "Revervoir Dogs" was very suspenseful, thrilling, and exciting. It didn't need music to control the audience's mood and emotions. So to say that background music is essential is patently false. If it were not, then we would have to say that "Reservoir Dogs" lacked suspense and thrills. Any background music in that film would have been silly and distracting and would have detracted from the realism.

Good film-makers are able to arouse the emotions of the audience without music. Bad film-makers must resort to a musical crutch.

A good novel can be very gripping and exciting, and yet it has no music. Music is essential? No, not at all.

Now, there may be some people with only a meagre capacity for enjoyment of a good story who need to be captivated and mesmerized by a lush string section. Their attention spans are so short that their minds must be kept from wandering and they must be kept from saying "kinda slow, ain't it?"
These people have probably never read a novel in their lives.

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Poster: quigs Date: Jun 1, 2010 4:43pm
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: Silent movies.

Do you understand my statement? I said music enhances a mood;an added character to the film. I surmise from your previous blog that people like Fritz Lang (Metropolis, M, Woman of the moon) and Hitchcock (more numerous thing I can count) are bad directors? What about the Indiana JONES SAGA, STAR WARS,
Jaws, E.T., and Close Encounter of the Third Kind all enhanced by music(John Williams) and of course The Thing(from another World) Howard Hawks and Dimitri Tompkins(music) Yeah,
Moongleam; all bad films and all bad directors.

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Poster: quigs Date: Jun 1, 2010 4:54pm
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: Silent movies.

Oh, BTW, Moon gleam; I taught English literature on the college level and was a school librarian on the high school level.

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Poster: elmagno Date: Jun 1, 2010 8:34pm
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: Silent movies.

Really? I guess you had an editor then.

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Poster: guyzilla Date: Jun 2, 2010 12:02pm
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: Silent movies.

There's a lot of good arguements here about the use of sound and music on film so I thought I'd jump in with my own opinion on the subject. There are instances where music can highten the mood of some motion pictures and there are also times when a film can do just fine without it.

"Dracula(1931)" only used bits of "Swan Lake" in the opening and I thought it was just great like that. When they came out with that edition with the score by Philip Glass, my reaction was "WHY?" It was an old film with a new score that just didn't belong there. It SOUNDED like it was added later. Too obvious. Hated it.

"Reservoir Dogs". Great film, no score, just a few songs that were popular when I was in sixth grade. A friend of mine had the soundtrack album from this film that had those songs plus DIALOG from the film, as there were probably too few songs to make an album.

"King Kong (1933)", in addition to being one of the earliest special effects showcases, was one of the earliest films to have an actual score. I think this is particularly interesting when you consider the sound film was still in it's infancy, though at this point silent films were a thing of the past. The score blends in and enhances the film wothout overpowering it. To me, this film is a masterpiece, then, now, and always will be.

Hammer Films, venturing into the "B" movie area, the music was often re-used in a number of films from the late 50's to the early 60's, (though I noticed "Brides of Dracula" used at least some music exclusive to itself,) was quite effective for the economy of the productions. Great filmaking for the budgets they had to work with.

"Silent" films, when viewed in their era, weren't usually viewed without sound. Often they were viewed with live musical accompaniment, often a pianist, an organist, or even with a full orchestra. I believe if the film industry was able to develope films with their own sountracks sooner than they did, they would have. Look at early "talkies" like "The Jazz Singer (1927)" or "The Mysterious Island (1929)". These were essentially silent films except for a few sound segments. To make a full-length sound film at that time would have been too expensive for most film makers.

As far as the other arguements whether a good film should have a score or not, that depends on a lot of different things. It could depend on the kind of story that's being filmed, the style of a particular film maker, and the way the score is going to be used or not used. But it also depends on the taste of the individual viewer. Who's to say whether someone is a film expert or a "Philistine" if that person would rather watch "Robot Monster" over "Gone With The Wind"? Whether a film is good or not depends on what YOU think, not who you ask.



This post was modified by guyzilla on 2010-06-02 19:02:56

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Poster: Freddie Jaye Date: Jun 1, 2010 4:11pm
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: Silent movies.

I'm with quigs. Try this the next time you're watching television: kill the audio completely.That's what silent films "sound" like.

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Poster: Moongleam Date: Jun 1, 2010 4:23pm
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: Silent movies.

Wrong. Television shows have spoken dialog; silent films do not. I'm surprised you never noticed that. (By the way, chimpanzees enjoy watching television.)

When I first watched The General, I didn't sit there moronically thinking "Where's the sound?" Realizing that the film was made without sound, I concentrated on the video, on the story. The silence was irrelevant and soon forgotten.

You may be one of those folks who cannot enjoy reading fiction, who have never read a novel in their lives. They need bells, whistles, and blinking lights to hold their attention.

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Poster: Freddie Jaye Date: Jun 2, 2010 6:06am
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: Silent movies.

Moongleam, your sarcasm is most unwelcome. But I'll reply to you anyway, and in a civil manner.

The point you seem to be missing (or avoiding) is that Reservoir Dogs *had audible dialog* to propel the story along. I haven't seen it, so I can't address whether the lack of a score helped it or hindered it.

But silent films are just that--silent. That's why I suggested killing the TV sound: that would replicate the silent-film experience.

Your beloved Reservoir Dogs may have been incredibly suspenseful--but would it have been so with no audio at all? Would you have been able to folow on the story without the dialog? Probably not--the dialog enhances the experience. And so it is with silents and music scores.

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Poster: quigs Date: Jun 1, 2010 5:03pm
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: Silent movies.

Moongleam, Lord bless you. What TV show never had a them show? The Peter Gunn went off the air almost 50 some years,but who remembers the shows(except us old gessers in IA) the music of Henry Mancinie made that show and stil is bought and purchased today. The films of Gold Rush, The Kid, City lights, Modern Times all had music cound tracks.
The film Don Juan (John Barrymore) had not only a music Soundtracks but sound effects but no dialogue.
However, I will concide this point if films do not have music soundtrack do not go back and add one.
The early films of John Wayne (many are here in IA) only had a beginning and ending music interludes. In the 1990's, UCLA got hold of many old westerns including those mention and added a musical sytheisised score to it. It took away from the action and did not add to it; it rather distacted the viewer.

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Poster: quigs Date: Jun 1, 2010 4:16pm
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: Silent movies.

Kinda slow, isn't it?

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Poster: quigs Date: Jun 1, 2010 4:16pm
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: Silent movies.

Here's another example, in 1936, Charles Chaplin released "Modern Times" a "silent film" . Sir Charles wrote the music for a silent film. Imagine the scene where the little tramp is going through the machinery of the factory; turn off the sound and it's a pretty dull film but with the music, it's one of the most hilarious sequences in it. Why? The music acts as an additional character of the scene-eliciting responses from the audience watching the film.

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Poster: B. Stockwell Date: Jun 4, 2010 9:16pm
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: Silent movies.

I can't let this one slide by. Ahem! Silent films were never intended to be seen without music and original scores date back at LEAST to "The Birth of a Nation." (Score by Joseph Carl Breil.) The premieres of the REALLY big films typically used full orchestras. The scores would be reduced for smaller ensembles as the films hit smaller venues until, in the smallest venues, the score would be a reduction for sole pianist/organist. That's usually how it worked. Also, it was standard to have a musician or two playing music DURING the filming, to set the mood - usually a violinist. There wasn't any consistency in any of this, though. As others pointed out, early sound films didn't exploit the full potential of recorded music. And, yes, Max Steiner's score to "King Kong" is regarded as a seminal point in film music. It wasn't until the arrival of Erich W. Korngold in the mid 1930s that the wall-to-wall approach we're used to arrived. Note: Bernard Herrmann, Hitchcock's best regular composer, created an unsettling effect by NOT writing music for "The Birds." Creepy stuff, that.

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Poster: quigs Date: Jun 4, 2010 9:38pm
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: Silent movies.

Thank you B. Stockwell.

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Poster: B. Stockwell Date: Jun 4, 2010 10:00pm
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: Silent movies.

My pleasure. A really, REALLY great book on silent film - easy to read for something so definitive - is Kevin Brownlow's "The Parades Gone by . . .". Brownlow is probably the single most important figure in why we even have these films to see. He triggered in interest in the field and is "Mr.Restoration." A BBC fixture, he also does work for Turner Movie Classics. Golly, it must be fun to be smart like that.

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Poster: quigs Date: Jun 4, 2010 10:21pm
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: Silent movies.

So true; but then again we have like yourself and others who understand there are more to films \an just sitting on your duff and watching the finished product: without knowing the time, sweat, labor, and hard work that goes into making those images on the screen that flicker by so fast the human cannot comprehend the still images and accepts them as moving pictures. Thank you for research and understanding.

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Poster: B. Stockwell Date: Jun 4, 2010 9:16pm
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: Silent movies.

I can't let this one slide by. Ahem! Silent films were never intended to be seen without music and original scores date back at LEAST to "The Birth of a Nation." (Score by Joseph Carl Breil.) The premieres of the REALLY big films typically used full orchestras. The scores would be reduced for smaller ensembles as the films hit smaller venues until, in the smallest venues, the score would be a reduction for sole pianist/organist. That's usually how it worked. Also, it was standard to have a musician or two playing music DURING the filming, to set the mood - usually a violinist. There wasn't any consistency in any of this, though. As others pointed out, early sound films didn't exploit the full potential of recorded music. And, yes, Max Steiner's score to "King Kong" is regarded as a seminal point in film music. It wasn't until the arrival of Erich W. Korngold in the mid 1930s that the wall-to-wall approach we're used to arrived. Note: Bernard Herrmann, Hitchcock's best regular composer, created an unsettling effect by NOT writing music for "The Birds." Creepy stuff, that.